As we continue our staff spotlight series, we are happy to note we have a large returning staff this year with seven returning staff members who have a combined 26 summers of experience in our waters. One of those peeps is our guide profile of the week and your chance to get to know Mary Ellen Powell...but as we call her...Emmy!
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Emmy followed a traditional life path of going to college after high school. Mistake. While studying international economics and environmental engineering, Emmy discovered her true passion and earned a Master's Degree in dropping out of college...twice. She decided she wanted to explore the world and live in as many countries as possible and so after moving to and living in both England and Guatemala for a while, she was ready to check another country off her list and decided to join us last summer in Alaska after mistakenly thinking Alaska was its own separate country. She did such a good job last year that we still haven't told her.
Between summers, Emmy spent this past winter teaching math and backpacking skills to high school students in North Carolina before embarking on a road trip for several months out west living out of her car. She hit up a number of National Parks and earned several Junior Ranger badges which she proudly wears on all her trips. She continued the trek up north and made the drive up to Alaska and is extremely proud of the fact she kept a sourdough starter, kombucha mother, and several succulents alive in her car the entire time.
When asked why she guides, her response resonates with most of us in this profession: "I believe wild places are inspiring, healing, invigorating, challenging, and connecting. I believe wild places are the best medicine for the human condition. I feel immensely fortunate to share experiences and connect with others in wild places for a living."
Emmy can be found on the water near her Alaska spirit animal...the sea otter. If you would like to see one of those fur balls, join Emmy on a trip! With the basic goal in life of just to love and be loved in return, Emmy would LOVE for you to join her on the water...she might even have some sourdough for you.